Peppers was selected number two overall by the Carolina Panthers in 2002 NFL Draft. The following year, he recorded five tackles, three for loss and a pair of sacks against eventual Heisman Trophy victor Chris Weinke and backup Marcus Outzen. "It's not goodbye, it's 'see you later.' But until then, I'm grateful, satisfied and at peace with all that comes next". Starting all 64 games during that span, he recorded 37.5 sacks, 47 tackles-for-loss, three interceptions, 10 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries.
With any great athlete's retirement come the thank-yous for all the players and coaches who left an impression on him or her over the span of an illustrious career, both on and off the field. "He carries himself with dignity, integrity and class, and will always be a Panther".
After 17 seasons in Carolina, Chicago, Green Bay, and Carolina again, Peppers is calling it a career.
Peppers had 16 sacks with the Panthers between 2017 and 2018, so he was still able to get after the quarterback even in his late-30s. Or was he? Peppers announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday after 17 remarkable years, ensuring he'll be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame some day. "To put up the numbers he did for as long as he did speaks to his incredible talent and commitment". He's one of the best to ever wear a Carolina uniform. He is a leader in the locker room and in the community.
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A detail of the official National Football League NFL logo is seen painted on the turf as the New York Giants host the Atlanta Falcons during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at MetLife Stadium on January 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Here's hoping we'll be seeing his name inscribed at Bank of America Stadium sooner than we think.
"He's a special player and a special person", said Hurney, who made Peppers his first draft pick. He chooses his words carefully. If he wanted to return for another season, the Panthers likely would've welcomed him back.